By: Kate Snyder, Principal Strategist, Piper & Gold Public Relations, Wharton Center Advisory Committee member and NextGen@Wharton Committee Chair
When I was in second grade, my mom and dad put me in a community theater production of Annie. I played Tessie, and I can still remember my lines.
The experience sparked a life-long love of the theater. Since the second grade, not a year has gone by that I haven’t been involved in a production – from children’s theater to high school musicals (no, not that one) to directing an award-winning show.
So whenever people ask me what it is that I love about Lansing, it should come as no surprise that the Wharton Center is one of the first things I list.
When I was invited to help figure out ways the Wharton Center could better connect with young professionals, I was thrilled. Yaaaaaaaas! Here was my chance to preach the Wharton gospel and show my peers the light.
Out of those initial discussions, NextGen@Wharton was born.
It’s been an amazing first season for us, and I’m thrilled we’re kicking off a second season, helping folks better understand just how awesome the Wharton Center is, and of course, with four great NextGen@Wharton shows.
So what is NextGen?
To put it simply – NextGen is like a young professionals’ VIP club for the Wharton. Oh sure, we have a lovely brochure and way more eloquent language to describe the group, but plain and simple we get treated like royals on a Cadillac-in-our-dreams budget. And it’s fantastic.
The NextGen Steering Committee picks four shows each season as a part of the NextGen series. Then, young pros can buy a ticket package that gives them fantastic discounts (usually reserved for full season ticket holders), really good seats and special pre- or post-show events (because we are so special!). This past season’s events included a swanky 80’s cocktail party for Flashdance, s’mores under the stars at Abrams Planetarium for Peter and the Starcatcher (my personal favorite NextGen event so far), wine and food pairings at the University Club for Pilobolus and a summer tent party on the Wharton lawn for The Book of Mormon.
The 2014/2015 NextGen series proves to be just as great if not – dare I say it? – better?!? We start off with Once: The Musical, the show I’m the most excited to see. Haunting Celtic-inspired music in a traditional Irish pub setting is sure to transport all of us to the Emerald Isle. Then we’ll check out the Dance Theatre of Harlem. I was adamant that NextGen needed to see this company live because part of our goal with NextGen is to give people the chance and place to be exposed to new and different entertainment. I have no doubt everyone will walk out of this dance performance astonished at what the human body can do and convey. Then we’ll get our jazz on with The Hot Sardines (blustery brass – Fats Waller-esque ivory tickling – sexy frontwoman – TAP DANCER! AND, since this show is already sold out, only NextGen@Wharton peeps can get tickets from the pre-reserved block) and wrap up the NextGen experience with the Tony Award-winning drag-filled spectacular Kinky Boots.
For each show, the NextGen Steering Committee will again coordinate pre- and/or post-show experiences for young pros.
Want to get in on NextGen@Wharton? Grab your tickets now online (bonus: if you’re flying solo, we all sit together so you don’t need to worry about finding a date) and we’ll add you to the list. It’s as simple as that.
Still want to learn more? Check out our Facebook page and some photos below of some of our awesome events!
Everybody say yeah!